C&B Notes

Investing is a discipline built on cumulative knowledge, and it requires a continuous evaluation and assessment of new information. The purpose of C&B Notes is to pass along the ideas, concepts, stories, and information that are informing, influencing, and updating our worldview. We use them to build on our “latticework of mental models” that help us make better decisions.

815 articles in list

Origins of Quarantine

Quarantine was first widely used in Venice in the 1300’s as the city-state grappled with the Black Death.  The term itself is derived from quaranta, the Italian word for 40.  General policy of Venice was to keep visiting sailors and merchants separated from the general population for 40 days before…

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Higher Ed Hangover

Like many of you, we have kids at home participating in e-learning.  While COVID-19 is unlikely to fundamentally transform primary and secondary education, at least in the short-term, it could shake the foundations of higher education.  Colleges will face immediate economic impacts like revenue declines from domestic student deferrals, foreign…

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Some Good News

In case you have not seen any of the episodes, we would encourage you to spend a few minutes on John Krasinski’s SomeGoodNews.  Krasinski will lift your spirits and provide a nice antidote to the COVID-19 news flow.  Your whole family should enjoy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eg08rJGKjtA Click here for SomeGoodNews Channel on…

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All in the Family

The presence of a controlling family in a company’s ownership table is not, on its own, a sufficient marker of strong governance.  It does include a good…

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The Dollar Saves Venezuela

Thankfully and mercifully, daily life in Venezuela is evolving.  We did not expect this level of relief without a leadership transition, but the Maduro administration has quietly allowed free market reforms to take shape.  The country is now essentially dollarized, at least where the economy is working.  And rum-maker Santa…

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Not Really a Weakness

We know of no company other than Daily Journal Corporation that could publish this statement of material weaknesses and not have shareholders worry about the veracity of the financials.  It is a testament to the reputation that Charlie Munger and Rick Guerin have earned over their lifetimes. From Daily Journal’s…

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Digitizing the Renminbi

Most of the discussion we have heard about digital currencies is around their use as a replacement or alternative to a sovereign fiat currency. …

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Euro Cash Piles

A very strange, unintended consequence of negative interest rate policies. German banks are stuffing vaults with money to help offset the mounting cost of negative interest rates, and some of them are running out of space. The physical cash holdings of German banks rose to a record 43.4 billion euros…

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EBITDA Definition Danger

EBITDA calculations vary widely across businesses and industries, and loosey-goosey “adjusted” EBITDA definitions exacerbate risk for lenders who are already offering covenant-lite terms.  As…

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Malone in Long Form

This interview with John Malone during Liberty’s Investor Day was fantastic, as he covered a lot of ground across media and telecom industries.  We particularly enjoyed his focus on competitive advantages and his assessments of how companies are (or are not) meeting their customers’ respective needs.

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Online Ad Effectiveness

Google is under antitrust heat for the dominance of its online advertising business.  The WSJ provides a cool visual summary of how the ad serving engine works in various scenarios.  Steve Tadelis has a contrary take, as he challenges the core underlying assumption about the effectiveness of online advertising.  His…

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Patience as a Precursor to Prosperity

In GMO’s most recent quarterly letter, Ben Inker revisited his and the firm’s experience leading up to and following the bursting of the internet bubble in the early 2000’s.  Inker notes that the current extremes are the greatest since the early 2000’s. The years leading up to the 2000 stock…

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